OU Department of Mathematics Graduate Student Handbook

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1 OU Department of Mathematics Graduate Student Handbook Graduate Committee and MGSA Department of Mathematics, University of Oklahoma Version: August 2010

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3 Contents 1 Graduate Programs 8 2 Entrance Requirements Requirements common to all graduate degrees Entrance Requirements for the M.A./Ph.D Entrance Requirements for the Ph.D. (Traditional and RUME options) Entrance Requirements for the M.S Requirements, Timelines, and Paperwork 14 4 M.A. / Ph.D. Overview and Graduation Requirements Overview: A typical Ph.D. schedule Graduation Requirements for the Ph.D. (Traditional) Graduation Requirements for the Ph.D. (RUME Option) Graduation Requirements for the M.A M.S. Overview and Graduation Requirements Introduction Course Requirements and Restrictions Core Requirements Comprehensive Examination Some Graduate College Policies and Procedures Academic Progress 30 7 Life as a Graduate Student The Mathematics Graduate Students Association, MGSA Good Practices for the Qualifying Examinations Good Practices for the General Examination Good Practices before Graduation Career Information for Mathematics Graduates Financial Support Graduate Teaching Assistantships University Terms of Employment for Graduate Teaching Assistants Graduate Research Assistantships Tuition Waivers and Health Insurance Graduate Summer Assistantships Graduate Fellowships Awards and Scholarships Extramural Fellowships and Grants Travel Funds for Graduate Students Life as a Graduate Teaching Assistant Typical GTA Assignments Teaching Assignment Request Forms The first day in front of a class Resources for GTAs Developing your Teaching Portfolio

4 10 Computing Resources and Policies and Webpages Hardware and Software Some University Resources Online Information and Resources Who s Who in Computing Resources? English Language Qualification Benefits of Language Qualification Overview of the Language Qualification Process Resources for Students Satisfactory Progress Probationary Status Appendix: Useful Contact Information 62 4

5 Welcome Welcome to the OU Mathematics Department! You are now a member of a diverse group of approximately 70 graduate students representing over a dozen different countries. You also belong to a larger community including 34 permanent faculty, 7 staff members, 11 lecturers, and 8-10 post-doctoral associates and visiting researchers. You play an important role in the department s teaching mission and share in our commitment to excellence in the instruction of around 12,000 OU students annually. Our internationally renowned faculty maintain a vibrant and collegial research atmosphere and also serve as sources of inspiration, mentoring, and advice. Our strong sense of community is enhanced by the fact that faculty, post-doctoral, and student offices, as well as a common room and instructional classrooms, are all housed in the same building. You will find senior graduate students to be important sources of information and mentoring. For example, our graduate students run five seminar series and are responsible for one third to one half of talks given in our department. These seminars are excellent venues for peer mentoring and for discussing topics of key interest to students. Senior graduate students can provide excellent advice on a broad range of topics: studying for examinations, filling out paperwork, teaching issues, preparing to give a talk in a research seminar, and general professional preparation. As a graduate student in the OU Department of Mathematics, you are automatically a member of the OU Mathematics Graduate Students Association (MGSA). The MGSA promotes social activities among students and faculty, offers advice and support to students, and serves as an advocate on behalf of students in the department. You should consider becoming an active participant in this organization. The purpose of this handbook is to explain in some detail the various departmental policies concerning graduate students and to describe the services offered by the Mathematics Department and by the MGSA.

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7 Graduate Programs

8 1 Graduate Programs The Mathematics Department at the University of Oklahoma has a long and rich academic tradition dating back to the mid 1890 s. We awarded our first master s degree in 1927 and our first doctorate in The Mathematics Department offers three different graduate degrees: M.S., M.A., and Ph.D. There are two options for the Ph.D. degree: the traditional mathematics option, and the research in undergraduate mathematics education (RUME) option. M.A./Ph.D. Program. This is the standard doctoral program for most students wishing to get a Ph.D. degree in Mathematics, including the RUME option. Students in the M.A./Ph.D. program who intend to pursue a doctoral degree need to pass the three Ph.D. qualifying examinations in the subjects of Algebra, Analysis, and Topology. Each one of these exams is associated with a two-semester graduate course sequence. These three sequences form the core of our M.A. degree and are also counted towards the Ph.D. degree. Students who pass all three qualifying examinations can go into the Ph.D. program in one of the following two options. Ph.D. Program (traditional option). This program is essentially the same as the M.A./Ph.D. program above. The main difference is that students who already have a master s degree in Mathematics may apply directly to this program. Students with a baccalaureate degree apply to the M.A./Ph.D. program and change to the Ph.D. program on successful completion of the Ph.D. qualifying examinations. The student s ultimate goal in this program is to write and defend a dissertation representing an original contribution to research in mathematics. Ph.D. Program (RUME option). As is the case with the traditional option, students who already have a master s degree in Mathematics may apply to this program, while students with a baccalaureate degree apply to the M.A./Ph.D. program. The student s ultimate goal in this program is to write and defend a dissertation representing an original contribution to research in undergraduate mathematics education. Students with strong mathematical backgrounds are encouraged to take free shot attempts at the Ph.D. qualifying examinations. These examinations are usually held the week before classes begin in August. These free shot attempts are only offered to students when they first enter the program, and results of the free shots do not go on the student s record unless the student passes. M.S. Program. The Master of Science (M.S.) program is offered by the mathematics department for students who want to pursue studies in mathematics beyond the undergraduate level but do not plan to obtain a doctorate in mathematics. Recent graduates of the M.S. program have gone on to careers as actuaries, statistical analysts, and software engineers. Others have become mathematics teachers in settings ranging from middle school to two-year and four-year colleges. Still others have gone on to obtain doctorates and academic positions in other fields besides mathematics, such as economics, mathematics education, and computer science. 8

9 Entrance Requirements

10 2 Entrance Requirements We strongly encourage applicants to take the general GRE examination. Students without GRE scores will not be considered for fellowship support. Students should refer to the OU Graduate College webpage for University entrance requirements and procedures. In particular, students for whom English is not a native language should look at the International Students Section on the Prospective Students page. 2.1 Requirements common to all graduate degrees. The single common requirement is that students have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in mathematics at the University of Oklahoma. There are several ways to achieve this qualification: by obtaining such a major, by taking the equivalent courses at another university, or by taking supplementary courses as a special student at the University of Oklahoma. Please refer to our Undergraduate Degree Requirements webpage for more details about the University of Oklahoma standard B.A. degree. 2.2 Entrance Requirements for the M.A./Ph.D. In addition to the common requirements above, a student should have at least two 3-hour senior level courses in abstract algebra, analysis, or topology. 2.3 Entrance Requirements for the Ph.D. (Traditional and RUME options) 1. Students will not be admitted to the Ph.D. program without first earning a master s degree or equivalent. 2. In order to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, a student must pass Qualifying Examinations in the areas of analysis, algebra, and topology. These examinations are ordinarily given every May and August. They cover the courses 5353/5363 (Abstract Algebra I/II), 5453/5463 (Real Analysis I/II) and 5853/5863 (Topology I/II). The Department annually publishes a syllabus for these examinations. Each Qualifying Examination may be taken at most twice. 3. Students with a master s degree may be conditionally admitted to the Ph.D. program prior to passing the Qualifying Examinations provided that: (a) They have completed the equivalent of at least two of the following three sequences: 5353/5363 (Abstract Algebra I/II), 5453/5463 (Real Analysis I/II) and 5853/5863 (Topology I/II); (b) They present a minimum GPA of 3.25 on all graduate work; and (c) They pass the Qualifying Examinations within one calendar year of their conditional admission. 2.4 Entrance Requirements for the M.S. For entry into the M.S. program, the student must meet the following list of requirements. Students lacking one or more of these requirements may be admitted on a provisional basis. In this case, they are generally expected to remedy any deficiencies in their first semester of study. For coursework taken to remedy deficiencies, at most three hours of credit (six hours in the Mathematics Education Option) can be applied toward the student s degree program. 1. The student must have completed coursework in the following areas: Differential Equations (MATH 3113 or MATH 3413 or equivalent), Linear Algebra (MATH 3333 or equivalent), Modern Algebra (MATH 4232 or MATH 4383 or equivalent), Introductory Mathematical Analysis 10

11 (MATH 4433 or equivalent), and Introductory Probability / Statistics (MATH 4733 or MATH 4743 or equivalent). In the case of a student who has taken some or all of these courses at other universities, the Mathematics Graduate Director or the Applied Math Committee will determine whether the student s courses are acceptable substitutes for the courses listed above. In the case of students who may be deficient in some of these prerequisites, up to three hours of work taken in residence to satisfy the requirements may be included in the master s program with the approval of the Mathematics Graduate Director and the Applied Math Committee. 2. (Mathematics Education Option only). The student must be either: (a) a certified teacher of secondary mathematics, or (b) currently employed as a mathematics teacher in a private secondary school. 11

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13 Requirements, Timelines, and Paperwork

14 3 Requirements, Timelines, and Paperwork Graduate College Requirements and Paperwork. The Graduate College has detailed procedures and deadlines for graduation spelled out on its website. Take time in your first semester to become familiar with these. The best place to start is to download and peruse the Graduate College Bulletin located on the Current Students page of the Graduate College website. This includes detailed lists of the Graduate College requirements and time limits for completion of the master s and doctoral degrees. Other useful documents include the Graduate Assistant Handbook and the Graduate Student Resource Guide, also located on the Current Students page of the Graduate College website. We also suggest that you look at the description of the process of obtaining a master s or doctoral degree, including checklists, forms, and in particular deadlines for submission of paperwork. You get to these descriptions by clicking on the relevant link on the Current Students page of the Graduate College website. Often you will be required to start submitting paperwork early in the semester before the one in which you expect to receive a degree. The Mathematics Department helps students to remember these deadlines (through s and through postings outside the office of the Assistant to the Mathematics Graduate Director), but ultimately it is your responsibility to be aware of Graduate College deadlines. Mathematics Department Paperwork. The Department keeps record of the progress of each student. This paperwork is necessary for both the Graduate College and the Department. You should make every effort to ensure that the Department has a complete set of records of your progress. In particular, Please make sure that you turn paperwork (signed advising forms, surveys, copies of any forms that you submit to the Graduate College) into the Department s Assistant to the Graduate Director in a timely fashion. Make sure that you keep the Assistant to the Graduate Director informed of the schedules and results of any attempts that you make at English Language Examinations (International Students only) and the Foreign Language Proficiency Examination. There is a simple form that you fill out in the Department before taking each test. Also, please provide the Assistant to the Graduate Director with copies of any administrative communications you may have with the Graduate Director, your Advisor, or the Graduate College. This can be as simple as ensuring that the Assistant to the Graduate Director is copied on appropriate s or letters. English Language Qualification. (For International Students) 1. The majority of graduate student support is in the form of teaching assistantships. The University requires that teaching assistants be fully language qualified before they can teach classes. 2. International students should work hard to become fully language qualified by the end of their first year. 3. Please refer to Section 11 for details on the Department s expectations and for a description of the steps involved in English language qualification. 14

15 M.A. / Ph.D. Overview and Graduation Requirements

16 4 M.A. / Ph.D. Overview and Graduation Requirements 4.1 Overview: A typical Ph.D. schedule Here is a typical Ph.D. schedule for a student entering the program with a bachelor s degree. The time is allotted as follows: approximately two years for the Qualifying Examinations (steps 1 and 2), approximately two more years for the General Examination (steps 3, 4 and 5), and approximately two years for the Dissertation (steps 6 and 7). The total is six years. Some students who have a strong mathematical background pass the Qualifying Examinations in one year and may progress through the program in five years. Qualifying Examinations. [Approximately two years] 1. Become English Language Qualified (concerns International Students only). 2. Take and pass the Qualifying Examinations. General Examination. [Approximately two years] 3. Get a Ph.D. Advisor and form a Ph.D. Committee. Have an Advisory Conference with your Ph.D. Committee. 4. Pass the Foreign Language Proficiency Examination (traditional Ph.D. students) or IRB training (RUME students). 5. Take and pass the General Examination. Dissertation. [Approximately two years] 6. Thesis Research. 7. Write up, defend, and submit thesis. Why do we give an approximate time interval for the Qualifying Examinations? In practice, depending on the student s background, this step can take anywhere from one to three years. Students who have taken graduate classes prior to attending OU may pass the Qualifying Examinations within their first year and are on track for a five-year Ph.D. Indeed, such students are encouraged to take the free shot attempts at the Qualifying Examinations immediately upon entering the program. These examinations are held one week before classes begin in the Fall semester. Other students may need an extra (third) year to fully prepare for the Qualifying Examinations. Note that the Graduate College requires that a student with a bachelor s degree pass the General Examination within five years of entering the doctoral program. Therefore, students who take three years to complete the Qualifying Examinations should try to take a two-semester course during these three years which can be used in their General Examination. All students considering the M.A. or Ph.D. degrees are urged to consult the Graduate College Bulletin (in addition to this document) for University policies concerning these degrees. 16

17 4.2 Graduation Requirements for the Ph.D. (Traditional) Here is the quick list of requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Mathematics: hours post-baccalaureate coursework. 2. Take and pass all three Qualifying Examinations. 3. Obtain Ph.D. Advisor and Advisory Committee. Hold Ph.D. Advisory Conference. 4. Demonstrate reading proficiency in one foreign language. 5. Pass the Ph.D. General Examination. 6. Write, defend, and submit dissertation. Now we give a more detailed description of these requirements: 1. Hours. The Graduate College requires that the student complete 90 hours of post-baccalaureate course work. It is normal for some of these hours to have been used for the master s degree. Students with a master s degree from another institution may be able to transfer credits for some coursework taken. Coursework beyond the master s level is usually determined at the time of the student s Advisory Conference, but it must include and 6000-level courses as follows: (a) 12 hours in one of the major areas of mathematics, (b) a sequence of two 3-hour courses outside of the student s major research area. 2. Qualifying Examinations. Students must pass the Qualifying Examinations in each of Algebra, Analysis, and Topology. These examinations are based on the three 2-semester core sequences: Abstract Algebra I and II, MATH 5353 and MATH 5363 Real Analysis I and II, MATH 5453 and MATH 5463 Topology I and II, MATH 5853 and MATH The Qualifying Examinations are given twice per year: first in May, and again in August. There are copies of previous examinations and some syllabi on the Department s Graduate Student webpage (under Qualifying Examinations) and in the office of the Assistant to the Graduate Director. We now describe two common scenarios for students taking the core courses. Full-time students must register for at least six hours. Students who have passed one or more of the free shot attempts at the Qualifying Examinations on entering the program should be able to pass the remaining examinations by the end of their first year. Students who receive fellowships which enable them to take nine credits per semester should strive to accelerate through the core courses. (a) Two-Year Scenario. First Year. Fall: Two of the three core courses, possible electives. Spring: Continuation of the two core courses, possible elective. Second Year. Fall: The third core course, electives (chosen with a view toward topics for the General Examination). Spring: Continuation of core course, electives. (b) Three-Year Scenario. 17

18 First Year. Fall: Introduction to Abstract Algebra I (MATH 4323). Introduction to Analysis I (MATH 4433). Spring: Introduction to Abstract Algebra II (MATH 4333). Introduction to Analysis II (MATH 5443) or Introduction to Topology (MATH 4853). Second and Third Years. Same as First and Second Years in 2(a) above. If you follow the three-year scenario, you should be aware that the Graduate College requires that students complete the General Examination within five years of entering the graduate program. 3. Ph.D. Advisor, Ph.D. Committee, and the Ph.D. Advisory Conference. Soon after passing the Qualifying Examinations, the student should obtain a Ph.D. Advisor and form a Ph.D. Advisory Committee. (a) How does one find a Ph.D. Advisor? More appropriately, how do the Advisor and Advisee find each other? Your first objective is to determine an area of mathematics that interests you. This may be a tough thing to do, especially if you are focused on taking Qualifying courses and on passing the Qualifying Examinations. What are good things to do? Find out which portions of the Qualifying courses interest you the most. Are there any portions for which you seem to have a natural aptitude? Are there portions that really don t interest you? Talk to more senior students, attend the student-run seminars to see what kinds of research more senior students are doing, audit more advanced courses in the last year of the Qualifying sequences, take some reading courses with several professors while you are still taking the Qualifying sequences (a one-credit-hour reading course can be taken in addition to the usual six-credit-hour load). Of all these suggestions, taking directed reading courses and attending seminars are the two that are closest to some of the day-to-day activities involved in independent research. Furthermore, a reading course is a great way for the faculty member and student to get to know each other. When you finally do ask a professor if he/she is interested in serving as your Advisor, the professor will have some information on which to base his/her decision. (b) The Ph.D. Advisory Committee. You should form a Ph.D. Advisory Committee, which is comprised of your Ph.D. Advisor (who will chair the committee), three other members of the Mathematics Department, and one outside member. Typically, some of your committee members from the Mathematics Department will set the written examinations for your General Examination. The other department members and the outside member are usually there to offer some balance and perspective. (c) The Committee and the student should hold an Advisory Conference. The purpose of this conference is to discuss the student s plans and to approve a complete program of courses, readings, seminars, etc.; thus, it should be held relatively early so that it does not become an ex post facto approval of completed coursework. There is formal paperwork, the Ph.D. Advisory Conference Report, that accompanies this process and must be submitted to the Graduate College (with copies sent to the Mathematics Department). The student s program of study (past and planned) should be outlined in detail (including specifying a number of dissertation hours) on this report. Talk to post-advisory Conference students to see how they filled out their reports. The following points may be helpful for listing proposed coursework in your Advisory Conference Report. 18

19 You can enroll in the department research seminars (Analysis, Algebra, Geometry and Topology, RUME) for one credit hour per semester (two credit hours if you are presenting in the seminar that semester). By convention, a seminar will run as a 5000 number in the Fall and as a 6000 number in the Spring. Topics courses will be numbered similarly. A topics course will typically run as a level course in the Fall semester and a 6000-level course in the Spring semester. 4. Reading Proficiency in a Foreign Language. Each student should demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language as decided by the student s Advisory Committee. This should be done before the General Examination. Talk to your Ph.D. Advisor about this. 5. General Examination. This examination is both written and oral. It tests the candidate over several major areas of mathematics. The areas and content for the examinations must be determined, and the examinations completed, at least seven months prior to Commencement. The General Examination is usually taken during the second year after the successful completion of the Qualifying Examinations. A typical General Examination might consist of the following: At least one 3-hour written examination based on a or 6000-level sequence which is in the student s research area. The specific sequence will be determined by the student s Ph.D. Advisory Committee. Some Advisory Committees may require that the student take written examinations in more than one sequence. An oral examination whose broad scope is usually agreed upon in advance by the student and the Advisory Committee. The examination is typically based on material from two or 6000-level sequences in the student s research area (including the sequence(s) leading to the written examination) and the material from the student s seminar presentation. 6. Dissertation. A written thesis representing an original contribution to mathematical knowledge must be completed and defended orally. Some students find that they want to submit their written dissertation to the University library over the summer semester in their last year. Note that you can defend your thesis in the Spring semester, partake in the hooding ceremony at Commencement at the end of Spring semester, and submit your written thesis to the library during the summer. If you do this, you should remember to submit your written dissertation within 60 days of defending. You must enroll in the minimum of two dissertation credit hours over the summer semester. You will be responsible for applicable fees and resident tuition. The Graduate College should be able to provide a non-resident tuition waiver to eligible candidates for summer enrollment hours. 19

20 4.3 Graduation Requirements for the Ph.D. (RUME Option) Here is the quick list of requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Mathematics, Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education option: hours post-baccalaureate coursework. 2. Take and pass all three Qualifying Examinations. 3. Obtain Ph.D. Advisor and Advisory Committee. Hold Ph.D. Advisory Conference. 4. Complete IRB training. 5. Pass the Ph.D. General Examination. 6. Write, defend, and submit dissertation. Now we give a more detailed description of these requirements: 1. Hours. The Graduate College requires that the student complete 90 hours of post-baccalaureate coursework. It is normal for some of these hours to have been used for the master s degree. Students with a master s degree from another institution may be able to transfer credits for some coursework taken. Coursework beyond the master s level is usually determined at the time of the student s Advisory Conference, but it must include and 6000-level courses as follows: (a) 18 hours of mathematics (not mathematics education) courses (excluding courses used for the Qualifying Examinations), at least two courses of which must be a sequence, and at least two courses of which must be at the 6000 level; and (b) 27 hours of mathematics education courses, including courses in research methods (e.g., statistics, qualitative methods), courses in curriculum and pedagogy, and seminars. 2. Qualifying Examinations. This requirement is the same as for the traditional Ph.D. option (see Section 4.2). 3. Ph.D. Advisor, Ph.D. Committee, and the Ph.D. Advisory Conference. This requirement is the same as for the traditional Ph.D. option (see Section 4.2). 4. IRB Training. The federal government requires that certain regulations be followed in the conduct of research with human subjects. The University of Oklahoma Office of Compliance thus requires that all researchers involved in human subjects research complete a training activity. This training can be completed at any time, but it must be completed before the researcher is involved in any research activity. Instructions for the training can be found at the OU Institutional Review Board website. The training must be updated annually. 5. General Examination. This examination is both written and oral. It tests the candidate over two areas of mathematics (four courses total) and three areas of mathematics education (e.g., research methods, curriculum, pedagogy). The areas and content of the examinations must be determined, and the examinations taken, at least seven months prior to Commencement. The General Examination is usually taken during the second year of full-time post-master s study or its equivalent. A typical General Examination might consist of the following: Written examinations in two areas of mathematics (four courses total). 20

21 A written examination in statistics or qualitative research methods. A written examination in an area of curriculum and/or pedagogy. A prospectus for the dissertation or a paper published in a journal or research conference proceedings or a review of a paper submitted for publication to a research journal. The student takes an oral examination. The broad scope of the examination is usually agreed upon by the student and the Advisory Committee. The written examinations above are often used as a source for talking points in the oral examination. 6. Dissertation. A dissertation representing an original contribution to research in undergraduate mathematics education must be completed and defended orally. The doctoral program will include at most fifteen hours of Math 6980, Dissertation Research. See also the remarks under this topic in Section

22 4.4 Graduation Requirements for the M.A. Most students enroll in the Ph.D. program and obtain the M.A. degree upon successful completion of the Ph.D. General Examination. Some doctoral students find it useful to obtain a master s degree before their General Examination. Some students decide not to proceed with the Ph.D. and to graduate with an M.A. degree. Here is the list of requirements for an M.A. degree in Mathematics hours of approved graduate-level coursework. 2. At least five of the six core courses. The core courses are: Abstract Algebra I and II, MATH 5353 and MATH 5363 Real Analysis I and II, MATH 5453 and MATH 5463 Topology I and II, MATH 5853 and MATH If not all of the three year-long sequences above are taken, then the student may substitute another sequence approved by the Graduate Director. 3. Pass written exams (grade B or higher) in five of the six courses in the three year-long sequences in 2. above. 4. Take and pass a Comprehensive Examination based on the material from the three core sequences: Algebra, Analysis, and Topology. The Comprehensive Examination is an oral examination administered by three faculty members, typically one faculty member per core sequence area. 22

23 M.S. Overview and Graduation Requirements

24 5 M.S. Overview and Graduation Requirements 5.1 Introduction The Master of Science (M.S.) program is offered by the Mathematics Department for students who want to pursue studies in mathematics beyond the undergraduate level, but who do not plan to obtain a doctorate in mathematics. Recent graduates of the M.S. program have gone on to careers as actuaries, statistical analysts, and software engineers. Others have become mathematics teachers in settings ranging from middle school to two-year and four-year colleges. Still others have gone on to obtain doctorates and academic positions in other fields besides mathematics, such as economics, mathematics education, and computer science. The M.S. student s program of study is governed by two sets of guidelines: those set up by the mathematics department for this particular degree, and those set up by the Graduate College for its master s degrees in general. This document is mainly concerned with the mathematics department guidelines, but a few of the more important Graduate College guidelines are included at the end as reminders to the student. 5.2 Course Requirements and Restrictions 1. A total of 32 hours of coursework is required for the M.S. degree. 2. No course below the 4000 level may be applied to the degree. 3. A maximum of 12 hours of 4000-level coursework may be applied to the degree, and this total may not include more than nine hours of 4000-level mathematics courses. 4. No more than nine hours of coursework outside the Mathematics Department may be applied to the degree. 5.3 Core Requirements The following courses are required for the degree. Note that the lists of courses which can satisfy each requirement do overlap. Thus, for example, MATH 4073 could be used to fulfill either the Numerical Methods requirement or one of the Applied Mathematics requirements. However, a single course cannot be used to fulfill two different requirements. 1. Statistics. One 3-hour statistics course beyond the introductory level. Typical choices might be MATH 5743 (Introduction to Mathematical Statistics) or MATH 4753 (Applied Statistical Methods). 2. Numerical Analysis or Computer Science. One 3-hour course in either numerical analysis or computer science. A typical course for this requirement would be MATH 4073 (Numerical Analysis I). Alternatively, a student could take MATH 5173 (Advanced Numerical Analysis I) if the student has had some prior coursework in numerical analysis. If the student has a strong undergraduate background in computer science then he or she could take any or 5000-level course from the Computer Science Department. 3. Mathematical Models. The course for this requirement is MATH Abstract Mathematics. Two 3-hour courses. The following is a sample list of acceptable courses. Any two courses would be acceptable (they need not form a sequence). MATH 4103 (Introduction to Functions of a Complex Variable) MATH 4163 (Introduction to Partial Differential Equations) 24

25 MATH 4333 (Introduction to Abstract Algebra II) MATH 4853 (Introduction to Topology) MATH 5163 (Partial Differential Equations) MATH 5303 (Topics in Group Theory) MATH 5333 (Topics in Number Theory) MATH 5353 (Abstract Algebra I) MATH 5363 (Abstract Algebra II) MATH 5373 (Abstract Linear Algebra) MATH 5383 (Applied Modern Algebra) MATH 5403 (Calculus of Variations) MATH 5423 (Complex Analysis I) MATH 5433 (Complex Analysis II) MATH 5443 (Introduction to Analysis II) MATH 5483 (Wavelets) MATH 5623 (Convexity Theory I) MATH 5633 (Convexity Theory II) MATH 5653 (Introduction to Differential Geometry I) MATH 5663 (Introduction to Differential Geometry II) MATH 5673 (Graph Theory I) MATH 5683 (Graph Theory II) MATH 5693 (Topics in Geometry and Combinatorics I) MATH 5853 (Topology I) MATH 5863 (Topology II) Any mathematics course at the 6000 level. 5. Applied Mathematics. Two 3-hour courses. The following is a sample list of acceptable courses (again, the courses need not form a sequence). MATH 4073 (Numerical Analysis I) MATH 4083 (Numerical Analysis II) MATH 4103 (Introduction to Functions of a Complex Variable) MATH 4163 (Introduction to Partial Differential Equations) MATH 4733 (Mathematical Theory of Probability) MATH 4753 (Applied Statistical Methods) MATH 5113 (Topics in Applied Mathematics) MATH 5163 (Partial Differential Equations) MATH 5173 (Advanced Numerical Analysis I) MATH 5183 (Advanced Numerical Analysis II) MATH 5333 (Topics in Number Theory) MATH 5373 (Abstract Linear Algebra) MATH 5383 (Applied Modern Algebra) MATH 5403 (Calculus of Variations) MATH 5423 (Complex Analysis I) MATH 5433 (Complex Analysis II) MATH 5483 (Wavelets) MATH 5623 (Convexity Theory I) MATH 5633 (Convexity Theory II) MATH 5673 (Graph Theory I) MATH 5683 (Graph Theory II) MATH 5743 (Introduction to Mathematical Statistics) 25

26 MATH 5763 (Introduction to Stochastic Processes) MATH 5773 (Applied Regression Analysis) MATH 5783 (Topics in Mathematical Statistics) MATH 5793 (Advanced Applied Statistics) MATH 6443 (Topics in Differential Equations) MATH 6473 (Functional Analysis I) MATH 6483 (Functional Analysis II) 6. Outside Courses. (This requirement does not apply to students taking the Mathematics Education option.) Two 3-hour courses taken from outside the Mathematics Department that use some mathematics at the level of Calculus or higher. Whether a course is suitable may depend on the individual student s background. Here are some courses students have taken in recent years: CS 4413 (Algorithm Analysis) CS 5053 (Computer Graphics) ECON 4223 (Econometric Analysis) ECON 5023 (Statistics for Decision Making) ECON 5153 (Mathematical Economics I) IE 5523 (Applied Probabilistic Models in Industrial Engineering) IE 5623 (Linear Programming) IE 5653 (Engineering Network Flow Analysis). PHY 5813 (Atomic and Molecular Physics) PSY 5003 (Psychological Statistics I) ZOO 5413 (Community Ecology) 7. Directed Reading/Independent Study. (Mathematics Education option only.) One 3-hour directed reading or independent study course in mathematics education. A thesis is not required for the M.S. degree. However, the student may choose to do a thesis under the supervision of a consenting faculty member for a maximum of two credit hours. 5.4 Comprehensive Examination Each student must pass a comprehensive examination, normally taken during his or her last semester of study. (a) The comprehensive exam will be offered at most once in any given semester. The dates of the exam will be determined by the Applied Math Committee in consultation with the students involved. (b) The comprehensive exam will consist of five exams based on five mathematics courses from the student s degree program. No courses from outside the Mathematics Department can be used. Each exam will be two hours long. (c) The exam on each course will, if possible, be prepared by the faculty member who taught the student the course. Since many faculty members are away during the summer, students who plan to take the comprehensive exam in the summer should make initial arrangements for the exam in the preceding spring semester. In any case, to allow ample time for planning, it is recommended that students inform the Applied Math Committee of their intention to take the comprehensive exam in the semester prior to the one in which they take the exam. 26

27 (d) The choice of the five courses that the exams cover is made by the student but is subject to the approval of the Applied Math Committee. The selection of courses must conform to the following guidelines: (i) At least three of the courses must be at the 5000 level or higher. (ii) At least one course must an abstract course (see above list). (iii) At least one course must be in either probability/statistics or numerical analysis. 5.5 Some Graduate College Policies and Procedures A selected few of the Graduate College s policies and procedures regarding master s programs are summarized below. The student is strongly encouraged to consult the Graduate College Bulletin for a complete list. Graduate credit for work successfully completed at the University of Oklahoma is allowed only for courses listed in the course catalog with a G before the course number. Whether a particular course is acceptable as credit toward the degree on which the student is working is determined by the academic unit and/or advisory committee and the Graduate Dean. Graduate courses taken at other universities may be used as transfer credit towards the M.S. program if they have not been used as credit towards any other degree. Credit cannot be more than five years old at the time the student is admitted to the degree program. Transfer credit has to be evaluated by the Office of Admissions and Records and approved by the Graduate College. Whether a student s coursework meets the Mathematics Department and Graduate College requirements will be checked by the Graduate College when the student submits his or her Admission to Candidacy form. This is a form containing a list of all the courses the student will have taken by the time he or she completes the degree. This form must be filed well in advance of the semester in which the student plans to take the comprehensive exam. The exact deadlines are: first Monday in October for students taking their exam in the spring, first Monday in March for students taking their exam in the summer, and first Monday in April for students planning to take their exam in the fall. See the University s Academic Calendar or the Graduate College s Deadlines Page for more details. The Graduate College also requires an Authority Report Form for each student planning to take a comprehensive exam. This form will be obtained for the student by the Applied Math Committee. In order to be authorized to take the comprehensive exam, the student must have completed all of his or her core courses, as well as 75% of his or her total coursework, by the end of the semester in which the exam is to be taken. A student must be enrolled in at least two hours of graduate credit during the semester in which the comprehensive examination is taken. Students intending to graduate in a semester should file an Application for Graduation in that semester by the deadline listed in the University s Academic Calendar. 27

28 28

29 Academic Progress

30 6 Academic Progress In this section we describe the standards of academic performance expected of graduate students. We list the departmental procedures which help ensure that students both maintain acceptable academic performance and maintain steady progress toward the degree sought. 1. Standards of Academic Performance. After initial enrollment, a graduate student is expected to maintain academic standards set by the department and to make reasonable progress towards the degree sought. These standards include enrollment requirements, grade requirements, taking appropriate courses and number of hours, and meeting degree requirements in a timely manner. The Graduate Director is responsible for monitoring the student s academic performance and progress toward the desired degree. In the case of a student who has formed a Ph.D. Advisory Committee, the student s Ph.D. Advisor is responsible for monitoring the student s academic performance and progress and reporting these to the Graduate Director. Usually, concerns about matters of academic performance and progress will be discussed at the request of the Graduate Director. In addition, discussions concerning progress and performance may be initiated by graduate students by making an appointment with the Graduate Director. Each year the Graduate Director prepares a letter for each graduate student evaluating the progress and performance of that student. This letter is placed in the student s departmental file. In case of a lack of progress, a copy of this letter is also sent to the Graduate College. In case of continued lack of progress, a graduate student may be placed on probation and eventually dropped from graduate studies at the University. 2. Enrollment Requirements. A graduate assistant who is teaching six hours, or any other graduate student employed by the University on a half-time basis, should enroll in not more than twelve semester hours of coursework per semester. A graduate assistant is expected to take a minimum of six hours per semester. 3. Satisfactory Achievement and Progress in Courses. All graduate assistant appointments are contingent upon the recipients making satisfactory progress toward a degree. In general, this is interpreted to mean completing at least six hours of work per semester with an average of B or better in all work taken. It is better to make three hours of As and three hours of Bs than nine hours of Bs. 4. Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree Completion. In addition to maintaining at least minimum course enrollments and satisfactory grades, satisfactory progress towards degree completion requires that a graduate student: (a) take the specific courses required for the degree in a timely manner, and (b) prepare for and take required examinations (Qualifying Examinations, Comprehensive Examinations, General Examination, etc.) at a pace acceptable to the Graduate Committee and the Graduate Director. In addition, doctoral students are required: (a) to form an advisory committee and have its first meeting at the earliest feasible time, and 30

31 (b) to make reasonable progress in dissertation research. These elements of satisfactory progress will be determined by the dissertation advisor. They will be monitored under the supervision of the Graduate Director. Each year the Graduate Director will prepare an annual statement of progress for submission to the Graduate College. 5. Program and Course Advisement. Prior to enrolling each semester, graduate students will need to contact the appropriate Graduate Liaison to be advised on course enrollments for that semester. The Graduate Director serves as advisor for doctoral students who do not yet have a dissertation advisor and for all M.A. students. The Graduate Liaison for M.S. students serves as advisor for all students seeking the M.S. degree. Once a dissertation advisor is found and a Ph.D. Advisory Committee is formed, doctoral students should consult regularly with their dissertation advisor and their Advisory Committee as requested by their dissertation advisor. 6. Auditing. In some cases, a graduate student may further his or her preparation for certain courses and examinations informally by auditing a course rather than formally enrolling in a course. Auditing courses does not help to satisfy minimum enrollment requirements. Further, such auditing may not be useful in pursuing a student s degree program. Thus, the choice to audit a course should be decided upon in consultation with the appropriate course advisor or the Graduate Director. Enrollment as an auditor is permitted in all courses, subject to the approval of the instructor in the course and the dean of the college in which the course is offered. Enrollment as an auditor in a course may be completed only between the first day of classes and the last day permitted for late enrollment for credit. Fees for enrollment as an auditor are the same as fees for enrollment for credit. 7. Enrollment in Research Courses. After the initial enrollment in MATH 5980 (Research for Masters Thesis) the student must be enrolled each regular semester in at least two hours of MATH The same rule applies to MATH 6980 (Research for Doctoral Thesis). Students who complete and submit their dissertation over the summer semester are required to enroll in the appropriate two-hour minimum research course. 31

32 32

33 Life as a Graduate Student

34 7 Life as a Graduate Student What will your day-to-day life be like as a graduate student at OU? The Mathematics Graduate Students Association (MGSA) will help you get settled into life at OU and in Norman. The mission statement of the MGSA and a list of its activities is provided below. We also list some good practices at various stages of the graduate program. 7.1 The Mathematics Graduate Students Association, MGSA The MGSA is an association for the graduate students of the Department of Mathematics. Membership in this organization is open to all graduate students in the Department of Mathematics. 1. Mission statement. The purpose of MGSA is to promote the academic and social advancement of students in the Department of Mathematics and associated members of MGSA. Accordingly, MGSA works toward the following goals: (a) To further the academic and professional development of OU mathematics graduate students. (b) To have a working relationship with the Mathematics Department and other administrative bodies of OU. (c) To coordinate social activities such as picnics and game nights. (d) To help the new graduate students progress towards their M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. (e) To interact with the OU undergraduate Math Club. 2. Activities. (a) MGSA coordinates the student-run seminars and maintains an archive of past seminars. These include: i. the Graduate Student Seminar ii. the Student Algebra Seminar iii. the Student Applied Math Seminar iv. the Student RUME Seminar v. the Student Topology and Geometry Seminar (b) MGSA also organizes the weekly Tuesday Tea each Tuesday at 3:30pm in PHSC The MGSA webpage. The MGSA webpage contains information of use to mathematics graduate students: LaTeX resources, archives of student-run seminars, housing and other information for new students, announcements of upcoming events, etc. 7.2 Good Practices for the Qualifying Examinations 1. If you have taken some equivalent version of a qualifier course at your previous institution, you should definitely take the free shot attempt at the corresponding Qualifying Examination. It does not cost you anything (a low score on the free shot attempt is not recorded on your transcript), and if you are successful, you are in a good position to be able to pass all three Qualifying Examinations by the end of your first year. 34

35 2. Unless you are advised otherwise, you should attempt to take two qualifier courses in the first year and one in the second year. Many students find that the Algebra and Analysis courses are good preparation for the Topology course, so taking the Topology course in the second year is a typical strategy. 3. If you can, take more advanced courses in last year of qualifier courses. Take these courses with a view towards focusing your research interests. 4. It is generally good practice to take Qualifying Examinations in May at the end of the appropriate qualifying courses. You can then repeat an examination in August if necessary. Note that if you postpone your first attempt at a Qualifying Examination until the August after you take the course and are not successful in this attempt, then your second attempt will be taken with a different professor (and possibly with a somewhat different syllabus). 7.3 Good Practices for the General Examination In Spring 2007, we distributed a survey to graduate students who had been through the General Examination, asking them about their knowledge of the various stages (and approximate times taken) leading to the General Examination. We also asked them to recommend good practices things they did (or wished they had done!) which helped them through the General Examination. We summarize these comments here for your benefit. 1. Finding a research area and a Ph.D. Advisor. Most students felt that it was important to take advanced (post-qualifier) courses, as well as reading courses, with professors. Many felt that it was important to start doing this before completing the Qualifying Examinations. 2. Seminar Talks. The student must present one or two seminar talks to faculty and peers in the Department s research seminars. These talks should be based on a research paper the student has read. Some members of your Advisory Committee should be present at these talks. These talks were regarded as being one of the harder components of the path to the General Examination, but also the most rewarding. The general consensus was to practice as much as possible and to start preparing earlier than you think is necessary! Students found that giving versions of their talks in the student-run seminars was very valuable. 3. Written Examinations. Prepare! Prepare early, prepare often, and prepare with peers (if possible). Focus mainly on homework and examinations in the relevant two-semester courses. Schedule the hardest examination first. Schedule examinations for the fall, and use the summer to prepare. Practice writing answers/arguments, not just figuring things out in your head. Don t strive for perfection in written examinations, as you ll get a chance to correct small errors during the oral examination. 4. Oral Examination. By a significant margin, students felt that listening carefully to faculty feedback on the written examinations was the best way to prepare for the oral examination. Some felt that giving talks in student seminars helped. Others got peers to ask them questions (mock oral exams). Try to get rest/relax. 7.4 Good Practices before Graduation The single most important piece of advice here is to start preparing early for the job search. If you are hoping to start an academic job in the Fall semester after graduation, then you must start the application process very early in the previous Fall semester. This means that you should have all your application materials curriculum vitae, teaching statement, research statement, and a range of 35

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